As you may already know, I was recently accepted as a Kiva Fellow with Kiva Microfunds! This is a really exciting opportunity for me to gain first-hand experience in microfinance with an organization that is so exciting it was named as one of the top ideas in 2006 by the New York Times Magazine! You can read my application essay if you’re interested – it is the first blog I posted.
I’ll be volunteering as a Fellow for six months total. The first three months I’ll be in the Republic of Georgia in the capital city of Tbilisi. My placement for the second three months will be finalized in December, but I’m hoping it will be somewhere in Africa!
Fellows act as Kiva’s eyes and ears in the field to help extend limited resources. The main areas of responsibilities are as follows:
1. Facilitate Connections between Kiva’s Borrowers and Lenders
2. Assist Communications and Maximize the host MFI’s Partnership with Kiva
3. Support Kiva’s Mission, Product and Procedures
While I’m in Georgia, I’ll be working with Kiva’s partner VF Credo Microfinance, which is a new partner for Kiva, even though VF Credo has been doing microfinance in Georgia since the 1990s. Since they’re a new partner, I’ll be training them on how to use Kiva’s platform and resources, assisting communications between their staff and Kiva’s staff, and working with them on various other projects. I’ll also be meeting with their borrowers throughout the Republic of Georgia, writing journal entries on the entrepreneurs, checking in on how their business and loan progress is doing, and writing blogs to help connect borrowers and lenders. I’ll be posting a blog on Kiva’s website every other week about my experiences.
I’m hoping that this experience will help me segue into a career in international development or small business development. Ordinary people have the best ideas, and the opportunity to help a person bring those ideas into fruition through a basic investment is really exciting to me.
I head to Georgia at the end of October, and you can find more information about my timeline on my website www.lauraparr.com. I’ll be blogging as much as possible while I’m there about my work experiences, as well as what life is like in the Republic of Georgia! I’ve heard the food is amazing, so I’m sure I’ll be happy!